Asian, African lawmakers tackle poverty

Updated: 2016-09-19 09:16

By Cao Yin(China Daily)

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Lawmakers from Asian and African nations, along with some representatives of international institutes, said on Sunday that they would welcome more cooperation to help the poor, as poverty reduction is key to their sustainable development. And they got some encouraging feedback from China.

"China is willing to join hands with other countries to make a contribution to sustainable development," said Wang Chen, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, at the 2016 Interregional Seminar for Parliamentarians from Asian and African Countries.

Attendees from six Asian and African countries or international institutes-including Bangladesh, Kenya, Zambia and Cambodia-attended the seminar, jointly sponsored by the NPC's Standing Committee and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

"The legislative body, or parliament, plays an important role in maintaining relationships with others, and can supply fresh imperatives to sustainable development as it improves," Wang said.

"We'd like to share our development experience with others and learn from them about how to play the legislative department's role in lawmaking and supervision. We hope to provide a better legal environment for a sustainable environment."

Poverty reduction and related measures, which are the keys to sustainable development, were priority topics at the seminar, he noted.

Martin Chungong, secretary-general of the IPU, formed in 1889 and with 170 members at present, spoke highly of China's achievements in helping the poor over the past decades and called on its members to learn from them.

"Almost 40 years ago, China launched economic reforms that helped hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and achieved economic growth. The NPC made a contribution to that, so we can learn from it," Chungong added.

Jude Njomo, a member of Kenya's Parliament, said that poverty alleviation "is the key item for sustainable development".

After the seminar, participants will visit Shanghai, Guangdong province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Although he had been to China several times for business, Njomo said the seminar was a good chance to absorb sustainable development experience not only from China, but other countries as well.

Victoria Kalima, a member of Zambia's National Assembly, noted that Asian and African countries face similar challenges in sustainable development, so it's good to examine "what we have done, what we are doing and what we should do".

She said more cooperation is needed among legislators. But she added that it should be understood that parliaments vary, and they confront different problems.

The seminar activities will end on Sept 29.

In March, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, attended an IPU conference in Zambia and gave a keynote speech.